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Masa’s Less Pricey Downtown Venture Works, Pete Wells Says

Tetsu gets two stars for its grill fare

Tetsu NYC
Photo by Alex Staniloff

Sounds like Pete Wells had a pretty pleasant time at Tetsu, Masa chef Masa Takayama’s casual Tribeca Japanese grill, upon which the Times critic sprinkled two stars for its surprising salads, “refined” ramen, and “outstanding” desserts.

Takayama, famous for his three-Michelin-starred uptown sushi restaurant Masa, makes his food more accessible to the masses at Tetsu, where entrees top out at $39. It’s a stark contrast to Masa, where the omakase runs $595. Wells says this downmarket play works:

He can, in fact, make less expensive seafood taste as precious as sturgeon roe. During the bay scallop season, which has an annoying habit of ending before I have eaten enough of them, Tetsu seared them with skinny lengths of asparagus and sent them out with garlic-anchovy oil and lime juice, simmering in a hot bowl. I will be marking this on the calendar so I don’t miss it next winter. For now there is a similar dish that operates on the same principle: tender, palm-size whole octopus sizzled in butter and lime with garlic, chopped cilantro and strands of a green Korean chile.

Wells’ other favorite dishes included kale gobo slaw, chili pork sausage skewers, shungiku tempura, and green peppercorn ice cream. Some misses, though, like an “underseasoned” burger and “inconsistent” nigiri — a surprise considering Masa’s sushi acclaim — kept the more affordable offering from New York’s priciest sushi chef at two stars.


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